E-commerce Link: So Hot, You're Cool
“I’m working in the most interruptive ad industry of them all. My idea of ‘cool’ marketing would be injecting the latest infomercial directly into the consumer’s vein,” jokes Hrastnik. “Seriously … I can tell you that direct response TV advertising is not only alive but kicking, thriving more and more every month.”
Hrastnik admits that infomercials are interruptive, but the reason they work is “because they interrupt consumers in ways they welcome … entertaining them, educating them, thrilling them and just simply giving them a great story … which then actually goes on to sell something. Yes, we interrupt, but we also provide value with that interruption.”
That, says Hrastnik, is how marketing should be.
“Most of us will always depend on interrupting consumers and pushing our message in their face. No way around that. But if we want lasting attention, we need to interrupt in a valuable manner. ”
Marketers as Publishers
Here’s where it gets both dicey and exciting. Hrastnik and others believe that if marketers must start providing serious value to consumers, then they must become publishers.
“Contract publishers have been teaching people this for decades—they call it ‘branded entertainment,’” says Clark. “Advertising tries to make a point, marketing tries to induce an action and experience design tries to shift perceptions.”
Experts suggest that content doesn’t necessarily need to be product-related and may only be loosely brand-related. Essentially, marketers won’t be depending on that content to sell.
“The content is your way in … your bargaining chip to win the consumer’s attention, the first step to a relationship which someday may result in profitable sales. The emphasis being on ‘some day,’” says Hrastnik.
This “marketing as publishing” model is not a short-term marketing vehicle, as evidenced by companies like Drs. Foster & Smith, which internally produces audio-video content for its PetEducation.com site.